16 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Joints

16 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Joints

Your joints link bones together so you can bend your knees, wiggle your hips, and move your body. Learn how you might be preventing your joints from working their best.

Carry Extra Weight

Your joints, which link your bones together, are sensitive to heavy loads. Every pound on your frame puts 4 pounds of stress on your knees. It also strains your back, hips, and feet. That causes wear and tear that can lead to damage, aches, and pain. Being overweight also triggers inflammation. That can make all your joints, including in your hands, stiff, painful, and swollen.

Text Too Much

‘Texting thumb’ is a real thing. Your tendons can get irritated and lock your thumb in a curled position. All that looking down at your phone is just as bad for your neck and shoulders, too. Every inch your head drops forward raises the load on your muscles. If you bend your neck so far that your chin touches your chest, it’s as if your neck has to support the weight of 5 heads instead of just one.

Steep Price of High Heels

They might look fab, but the higher they rise, the more your weight tips forward. Your thigh muscles have to work harder to keep your knee straight, which can cause pain. When heels go up, so does the twisting force in your knees. If you wear them every day, you boost your odds for osteoarthritis. That’s when the bones and the cushioning between the bones break down.

Wear the Wrong Shoes

Worn-out shoes don’t support your feet and ankles enough. That’ll throw your knees, hips, and back out of whack. Also, make sure your sneakers are right for your sport. High tops for basketball, for example, can protect your ankles from sprains. But don’t go overboard. Too much cushion or arch support means your foot can’t move naturally, which could keep you in a cycle of pain.

Crack Your Knuckles

That satisfying pop comes from tiny bubbles bursting in the fluid around your joints. Or from ligaments snapping against bone. Despite what annoyed adults might have warned you, it doesn’t cause arthritis. Still, it might be smart to stop. One study showed that this habit may cause your hands to swell and weaken your grip.

Lug a Big Bag

Whether it’s a purse, backpack, or messenger bag, packing too much can cause neck and shoulder pain. Heavy weight on one shoulder throws off your balance and your walk. If you tend to carry things only on one side, the constant pull overstretches your muscles and tires out your joints. If you do that every day, your body’s going to let you know loud and clear.

Use Wrong Muscles for the Job

When you put too much load on little muscles, your joints pay the price. If you need to open a heavy door, push with your shoulder instead of your fingers. When you lift something off the floor, bend at your knees and push up with your strong leg muscles. When you carry something, hold it close to you in the palms of your hands instead of stressing your fingers.

Sleep on Your Stomach

It might help with snoring, but not so much with the rest of your body. Lying on your tummy pushes your head back, which compresses your spine. Your head also will face in one direction for longer stretches than if you sleep on your back. All that puts pressure on other joints and muscles.

Skip Stretching

You don’t need to be a yogi, but regular stretching can help strengthen your muscles and tendons. It also can make them more flexible. That allows your joints to move more easily and helps the muscles around them work better. That’s key to healthy and stable joints.

Skimp on Strength Training

Once you turn 40, your bones start to get a little thinner and more likely to break. If you build muscle with strength training, it slows bone loss and triggers new growth. So you not only get stronger muscles, but denser bones, too. Together, they stabilize your joints so you’re less likely to get hurt.

Smoke and Chew Tobacco

Here’s another reason to quit: Your joints will thank you. Nicotine from cigarettes and chewing tobacco cuts down on blood flow to your bones and to the cushioning discs in your back. It limits how much bone-building calcium your body can take in. It also breaks down estrogen, a hormone you need for bone health. And it slows new growth that thickens bones. All that makes your joints weaker and your hips more likely to break.

Don’t Get Quality ZZZs

You may wonder how poor sleep can affect your joints. One study found that people with arthritis felt more pain after restless nights. That made them take a closer look. One theory is that when you don’t sleep well, it triggers inflammation in your body. That might lead to joint problems over time. More research is needed, but in the meantime, it sure won’t hurt to get good shut-eye.

Slouch and Slump

Your body’s at its best when you work with it, not against it. That’s why posture matters. When you slump in your chair, it puts more stress on your muscles and joints and tires them out. It’s like always jamming on your car brakes when you could just ease down on the pedal instead. So keep your back straight and those shoulders back and down.

Ignore Pain

When you work out, you might think you just need to power through it. After all, no pain, no gain, right? It’s true that some muscle soreness is OK. But not if it lasts for days or if your muscles are swollen or too sore to move or to touch. Joint pain isn’t normal, so pay attention to it. If you think you overdid it, ease up on your exercises. If the pain won’t go away, check with your doctor.

Too Much Computer Time

It can literally be a pain in your neck — and your elbows, wrists, back, and shoulders. The problem isn’t just bad posture, but that you hold it for too long. That overworks your muscles. It also puts pressure on the discs in your back. If you’re in a soft chair, prop up your arms with cushions to take the load off your shoulders and your neck. Be sure to get up and move every hour.

Repeat Poor Form

When you run, bike, or play tennis, you use the same motions over and over. But if your form is bad, you’ll stress your body in all the wrong places. If you overload your muscles, it puts more pressure on your joints, and you can end up with an injury like tennis elbow.

 


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis

Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis

Article Featured on Science Daily

Exercise helps to prevent the degradation of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London.

The researchers show for the first time how mechanical forces experienced by cells in joints during exercise prevent cartilage degradation by suppressing the action of inflammatory molecules which cause osteoarthritis.

The study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, demonstrates the benefits of exercise on the tissues that form our joints and how this is down to tiny hair-like structures called primary cilia found on living cells.

During exercise the cartilage in joints such as the hip and knee is squashed. This mechanical distortion is detected by the living cells in the cartilage which then block the action of inflammatory molecules associated with conditions such as arthritis.

The researchers show that this anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity is caused by activation of a particular protein, called HDAC6, which triggers changes in the proteins that form primary cilia.

Pharmaceutical drugs that blocked HDAC6 activation prevented the anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity, whilst other drug treatments were able to mimic the benefits of exercise.

Changes in length of the primary cilia, which are only a few 1000th of a millimetre, provided a biomarker of the level of inflammation. Cilia got longer during inflammation, but treatments that prevented this elongation successfully prevented inflammation.

Mr Su Fu, PhD student at Queen Mary University of London and study author, said: “We have known for some time that healthy exercise is good for you — now we know the process through which exercise prevents cartilage degradation.”

Professor Martin Knight, lead researcher of the study added: “These findings may also explain the anti-inflammatory effects of normal blood flow in arteries which is important for preventing arterial disease such as atherosclerosis and aneurism.”

The researchers hope that these findings will help in the search for treatments for arthritis which affects over three million people in the UK causing stiff and painful joints.

The researchers suggest the results may lead to a whole new therapeutic approach known as mechano-medicine in which drugs simulate the effect of mechanical forces to prevent the damaging effects of inflammation and treat conditions such as arthritis.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Queen Mary University of LondonNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

What's the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?

What’s the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?

By Aaron Kandola | Article Featured on MedicalNewsToday

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis both cause joint pain and stiffness. They are both forms of arthritis but have different causes and treatments. There are over 100 types of arthritis and related diseases. Two of the most common types are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). OA is more common than RA.

Both OA and RA involve inflammation in the joints, but the inflammation in RA is much greater. Until recently, healthcare professionals believed that inflammation was not present in OA.

OA and RA share some symptoms. RA can affect multiple joints in a subtype called polyarticular arthritis, and it tends to affect the body symmetrically. OA usually affects a few joints and typically occurs on only one side of the body. In this article, we take a look at the similarities and differences between RA and OA, including their symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Causes

Joints contain protective tissues that prevent the bones from scraping against one another. For example, cartilage overlies the bones to allow smooth movement in the joint. Arthritis damages this protective tissue. The causes of joint damage are different in RA and OA:

Rheumatoid arthritis

RA is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in the joints. This immune response involves both genetic and environmental factors, including cigarette smoking.

Osteoarthritis

In OA, the protective cartilage gradually wears down and the bones begin to scrape against one another. This wear and tear can result from repetitive movements, such as in sports, that place pressure on the joints.

Symptoms

RA and OA share a number of symptoms, including:

  • joint pain
  • stiffness in joints
  • swelling, which is more severe in RA
  • restricted mobility in affected joints
  • symptoms that are worse in the morning

The symptoms of RA may arise and get worse quickly, sometimes within a few weeks. However, the symptoms of OA appear more slowly, as the protective tissues in the joints gradually break down. However, OA stressors, such as going for a hike, may cause a sudden, severe swelling in the knee.

Both OA and RA can affect any joint in the body. OA is most likely to affect the knees and the small finger and thumb joints. RA often occurs in the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, feet, and hips, and it usually occurs in the same joints on both sides of the body.

The symptoms of RA usually affect the joints on both sides of the body. For example, if RA affects one hand, it also affects the other hand. OA often only affects one side of the body. OA is localized, as it only affects the joint and its surrounding tissues. For this reason, OA typically only affects one joint, while RA commonly affects multiple joints.

A key difference between these forms of arthritis is that RA involves a range of systemic symptoms, which are symptoms that affect the entire body.

Symptoms that affect people with RA include:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • inflammation in other areas, such as the eyes and lungs
  • rheumatoid nodules

OA is not associated with systemic symptoms, but people with the condition can develop bone spurs or other bone abnormalities. For example, OA in the hands can often cause small lumps to develop around the ends of the finger joints.

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose RA and OA by performing a physical examination, taking a medical history, and carrying out various diagnostic tests. Diagnosing these conditions can be challenging. This is because the symptoms often overlap, particularly in the early stages.

Blood tests can help diagnose or rule out RA, as this condition leaves certain biomarkers in the blood, such as cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody and rheumatoid factor. They may also check for abnormal levels of the C-reactive protein antibody, which is a marker that indicates inflammation. Doctors may also perform imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound scans, to determine the extent and location of the RA or OA damage.

Treatment

RA and OA are chronic conditions. There is currently no cure for them, but various treatments can help a person manage their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and slow down the progression of the condition.

Treatment may involve using medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation can help alleviate pain and stiffness in the joints and improve their range of motion. Doctors may also recommend steroid-based medications to reduce inflammation. For example, they may inject steroids directly into the affected joints when it is important to reduce inflammation immediately.

Healthcare professionals advise taking disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), often alongside NSAIDs or steroids and biologics, to treat RA. DMARDs aim to suppress the immune system and reduce its damage to tissues in the joints.

Treatments for both RA and OA will often also involve physical therapy. This helps improve a person’s mobility and keep joints flexible. Following a healthful anti-inflammatory diet can also help. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent the need to place excess pressure on the joints. Avoid smoking cigarettes, particularly in RA.

Outlook

RA and OA are chronic conditions that cause pain and stiffness in the joints. Both conditions can become worse over time without appropriate treatment. The effects of OA and RA on a person’s daily life range from mild to severe.

RA and OA can cause similar symptoms, but they have different causes and treatments. In many cases, OA is easier to treat than RA because it usually affects fewer joints and does not involve systemic symptoms. The progression of RA is more difficult to predict than that of OA.

With modern research and treatments, the outlook for people with RA has greatly improved. Doctors can usually prevent or slow down the progression of this disease with effective treatment.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Relieving Arthritis Pain With Heat or Cold Therapy

Relieving Arthritis Pain With Heat or Cold Therapy

By Heidi Godman, Contributor  | Featured on US News

ARTHRITIS PAIN CAN BE disabling. Stiff, swollen, aching joints may keep you from doing the activities you love or the ones required to get through each day, like walking or dressing. While prescription medication and physical therapy are the first line of defense for addressing arthritis causes, an age-old home remedy – heat or cold therapy – may help reduce pain and improve range of motion. “It doesn’t change or improve arthritis, but it can provide symptom relief,” says Dr. M. Elaine Husni, a rheumatologist and physician scientist at Cleveland Clinic.

Read more

Stem Cell Clinics Sell Bogus Cures for Knee Pain

Stem Cell Clinics Sell Bogus ‘Cures’ for Knee Pain

By Dennis Thompson | Featured on WebMD

Stem cell clinics are charging big money for knee arthritis “cures” and making extravagant claims about their therapies, a new study contends. A same-day injection for one knee costs thousands of dollars at these centers, according to a consumer survey taken of clinics across the United States.

People are paying that kind of cash because two-thirds of stem cell clinics promise that their treatments work 80 to 100 percent of the time, researchers report. But there’s no medical evidence suggesting that any stem cell therapy can provide a lasting cure for knee arthritis, said study lead researcher Dr. George Muschler, an orthopedic surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic.

“There are claims made about efficacy [effectiveness] that aren’t supported by the literature,” Muschler said. “There’s a risk of charlatanism, and patients should be aware.”Stem cells have gained a reputation as a miracle treatment and potential cure for many ailments. The cells have the potential to provide replacement cells for any part of the body — blood, brain, bones or organs. As a result, a wave of stem cell centers have opened up around the country, offering cures for a variety of diseases, Muschler said.

“It’s very sexy to market yourself as a stem cell center, so there’s been a boom of centers, probably close to 600 now in the United States offering this therapy,” Muschler said. “But the truth is that the medical literature hasn’t quite caught up to the enthusiasm in the marketplace.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed extreme skepticism over these centers, and in November the agency announced that it would crack down on clinics offering dangerous stem cell treatments. The “pie-in-the-sky” dream for knee arthritis patients is that a stem cell injection will produce fresh new protective cartilage in their joint, said Dr. Scott Rodeo, an orthopedic surgeon with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

“The reality is they don’t do that. There is zero data to suggest that,” said Rodeo, who wasn’t involved with the study. “The idea these cells are going to regenerate cartilage — there’s zero data.”

At best, these injections might temporarily reduce pain and inflammation by prompting the release of soothing chemicals in the knee, Rodeo and Muschler said. To get an idea what stem cell centers are promising customers, Muschler and his colleagues called 273 U.S. clinics posing as a 57-year-old man with knee arthritis.The clinics were asked about same-day stem cell injections, how well they work and how much they cost. Of the 65 centers that provided pricing information, the average cost for a knee injection was $5,156, with prices ranging from $1,150 to $12,000, the researchers found. Fourteen centers charged less than $3,000 for a single injection, while 10 centers charged more than $8,000.

The 36 centers that provided information on effectiveness claimed an average effectiveness of 82 percent, the researchers said. Of them, 10 claimed that the injection worked 9 out of 10 times, and another 15 claimed 80 to 90 percent effectiveness. The findings were presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting, in New Orleans. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Patients are being told there’s an 80 percent likelihood of improvement, which is only 10 to 20 percent better than you’d expect from a placebo effect,” Muschler said. In fact, he suspects that the placebo effect is responsible for much of the improvement patients feel following a knee injection.

“People always show up to the doctor when they hurt,” Muschler said. “If I see a patient who has arthritis in their knee and I do nothing, there’s a very good chance they’re going to get better over the coming months, anyway. There’s this natural cycle of increasing and decreasing pain that’s present in the life of someone who has arthritis.”

That’s compounded by the fact that people expect to feel better after shelling out a load of cash, Muschler added. These centers generally provide three different types of treatment, only one of which actually has live stem cells involved, Muschler said.

One treatment injects the knee with platelet-rich plasma drawn from the patient’s own blood, while another uses a slurry produced from fetal tissue and fluid gathered after birth. Neither of these contains stem cells, but they are marketed as stem cell therapies, Muschler said.

A third option involves bone marrow taken from the patient and injected into the knee. This does contain a mixture of three types of stem cells, but “the evidence that you’re doing [your knees] a favor is still pretty weak in the literature,” Muschler said.People aren’t likely to be harmed by these injections, Rodeo said, but there’s not a lot of evidence that they’ll be helped. “Patients should go into it eyes wide open,” Rodeo said. “They’re paying a lot of money out of pocket, because these are not covered by insurers.” Knee arthritis sufferers would be better off trying many of the established options for reducing knee pain, Muschler and Rodeo said.

Losing weight is a “key factor,” Muschler said. “There’s very good evidence that if you are at a 5 on the pain scale and you lose 10 percent of your body weight, your pain will drop 2 points,” Muschler said. Patients also can use NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling, get a steroid injection, or perform weight training to strengthen the muscles that support the knee, Muschler and Rodeo said.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

A Patient's Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Patient’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Elaine K. Howley | Featured on US News

The human body is an incredibly complex machine. Most of the time, all the parts work correctly, with various gears and components clicking in harmony. But occasionally, something gets out of whack. When this happens, the guardian of the machine – the immune system – can get turned around and begin attacking the body it usually protects. This is what happens in an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease that affects the joints.

About Arthritis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “arthritis means inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.”

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments in America. According to the March 2017 edition of Vital Signs, a monthly report issued by the CDC, about 54 million adults in the United States – about 25 percent of all adults – have arthritis. In addition, about 300,000 children also have some form of arthritis. About 24 million people are disabled by their arthritis, making it the leading cause of disability in the U.S.

The most common form of arthritis in adults is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis. It develops as a person ages and it gets progressively worse with age. “When the cartilage – the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic,” the Arthritis Foundation reports.

Rheumatoid arthritis is unrelated to osteoarthritis, but it’s the third most common form of arthritis in America, affecting about 1.5 million people. “It’s an incredibly serious disease,” says Dr. John J. Cush, a rheumatologist and the director of clinical rheumatology for the Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and professor of medicine and rheumatology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Signs and Symptoms of RA

Many of the symptoms of RA are similar to those of osteoarthritis, and like OA, RA is progressive in nature, wearing down the joints and your body with inflammation over time. The CDC reports “RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance) and deformity (misshapenness).” In most patients, symptoms begin slowly and build over weeks or months. RA often begins as a little stiffness in one or more joints – often in the hands, wrists or feet.

Like other types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. But many patients with rheumatoid arthritis have symptoms on both sides of the body. This symmetry is a hallmark of RA that doesn’t typically happen in other types of arthritis. RA also tends to affect more joints at once than other types of arthritis.

The CDC reports “there are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remission.” In addition to pain, swelling and stiffness, people with RA may also experience tenderness in more than one joint, weight loss, fever, fatigue and weakness in the affected limbs.

Although RA targets the joints, it can also have negative impacts on other parts of the body and increase your risk for developing other chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition, the Mayo Clinic reports that RA causes inflammation in the body that can lead to scarring within the lungs, lung nodules (small lumps in the lung) and pleural disease (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the lungs). These can all lead to breathing problems. If you have RA and experience any issues with breathing, see your doctor right away.

Inflammation is also the primary culprit behind the heart problems that some RA patients experience, the Arthritis Foundation reports. “Having RA doubles the risk of most heart problems, including heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis – the buildup of fat, cholesterol and cellular debris (plaque) on blood vessel walls.” A 2015 Mayo Clinic study published in BioMed Research International also found that people with RA are at increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation. AF is an irregular heartbeat and significant risk factor for strokes. Dr. Roger Kornu, a rheumatologist with the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, says “most RA patients die from heart attack or stroke.”

Some RA patients also experience eye problems, the Mayo Clinic reports. “The most common eye-related symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is dryness. Dry eyes are prone to infection, and if untreated, severe dry eyes can cause damage to the corneas, the clear, dome-shaped surface of the eye that helps your eye focus.” Dry eyes may also be a sign of Sjogren’s syndrome, another autoimmune disorder associated with RA.

Risk Factors

The National Institutes of Health report that the exact cause of RA is unknown, but that genetics, environmental factors and hormones may all play a role in whether a person develops RA. Sex, age and lifestyle also appear to be risk factors. Women are more likely to develop RA than men. Although children and older adults may also develop RA, it most commonly strikes adults. The Arthritis Foundation reports that “in women, RA most commonly begins between ages 30 and 60. In men, it often occurs later in life. Having a family member with RA increases the odds of having RA; however, the majority of people with RA have no family history of the disease.”

Smoking has also been identified as a risk factor for RA. Exactly how they’re connected isn’t certain, but the Mayo Clinic reports “researchers suspect smoking somehow ignites faulty immune system functioning in people genetically predisposed to getting rheumatoid arthritis.”

Diagnosis

Diagnosing RA isn’t easy; its early symptoms mimic those of many other diseases, making it challenging to arrive at the right diagnosis. Your doctor will perform a physical exam to check for swelling, redness and warmth in the joints and to check your reflexes and muscle strength. You’ll also likely have some blood tests looking for autoimmune markers in the blood that may indicate an elevated level of inflammation. You may also have imaging tests, such as X-rays, an MRI or ultrasound to get a closer look at what’s going on inside your joints.

Treatment

Although rheumatoid arthritis is incurable, it can be well managed with a class of powerful medications designed to reorient your body’s immune response. The Arthritis Foundation reports that “with autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage. Remission is the goal and may be achieved through the use of one or more medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage.”

The Mayo Clinic reports that your doctor may also recommend you take NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), which are available over-the-counter. You may also be prescribed stronger NSAIDs. Steroids can also help relieve pain and inflammation in more acute cases. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, may also slow the progression of joint damage.

In addition to medication, you may need to work with a physical or occupational therapist to learn exercises that keep the joints flexible.

In some cases, surgery is an option for treating joints damaged by RA. These procedures may include:

  • Synovectomy – to remove the synovium, or lining of the joint.
  • Tendon repair – to repair loose or ruptured tendons.
  • Joint fusion – to stabilize or realign a joint for pain relief.
  • Total joint replacement – to remove the damaged parts of a joint and insert a metal or plastic prosthesis.

Researchers are also finding that physical activity and exercise can help alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of RA. Obesity also appears to make the symptoms of RA worse, so eating right and keeping your weight in check can also help you manage the disease.

5 Best Low Impact Cardio Exercises for People with Bad Knees

5 Best Low Impact Cardio Exercises for People with Bad Knees

Article By Francesca Menato | Featured on Women’s Health

Anyone with a knee injury, new or old, will know how easy it is to feel it flair up with extreme cardio. Running, in particular, is very tough on the knees – so what exercises can you do to get the heart rate up, without hurting already bad knees?

We caught up with Lorraine Furmedge, Fitness First PT Ambassador, to find out the best workouts and exercises for bad knees.

Before you lace up your running shoes and risk another niggle, try these.

1. Swimming

If you’re on the search for cardio exercises for bad knees, head to the pool. Swimming provides a great workout that is low impact, versatile and burns calories fast. Whether you’re doing the butterfly or backstroke you’ll work all major muscle groups in your body including your glutes, abdominals and chest muscles.

Wondering which is the best stroke?

Freestyle, which tends to be the fastest stroke, can burn 100 calories every 10 minutes – more than jogging – but all of them will work your whole body.

2. Elliptical

Opt for an elliptical over a treadmill for minimal risk of knee injury. Your feet never leave the pedals, which means there is less of a chance to injure your knees, back, neck or hips. You’ll also get your heart rate up, making you work up a sweat! Increase the resistant to really test your endurance.

There’s a lot of discussion around which cardio machines burn more calories, and generally, the treadmill does tend to come out on top given you are moving whilst also supporting the full weight of your body but elliptical trainers are fantastic for getting in a great cardio workout with a bit more support.

With any form of exercise, you get out what you put in so it all depends on how hard you push and challenge yourself.

3. Stationary rowing

Rowing is a great way to burn calories without placing stress on your knee joints. Not only will you get a total body workout, you’ll also maximise your core strength with every pull.

Amp up the intensity by increasing the resistance while maintaining speed for a real cardiovascular challenge.

The more you train on a certain machine, the more stamina and strength your body will gain in that particular area, meaning the harder you have to work each time to continue challenging yourself.

If calorie burning is your main aim, switch up your routine and use a mixture of machines and freestyle training – it will keep your body guessing and will test you in different ways.

4. Cycling

Whether you prefer hitting a stationary bike indoors or riding your bicycle outside, you’ll get a fantastic fat-burning workout that will gradually improve your knee flexibility and strength.

To ensure you don’t put pressure on your knees, avoid hills and stick to a flat terrain. Raise your seat level slightly to decrease any pressure on your kneecap.

Wondering what resistance you should use? When it comes to cycling with resistance, there is no right or wrong answer.

Low resistance is great for those people who are just getting into fitness as it allows you to start building up your stamina without over-exerting yourself. Likewise, those suffering with knee injuries may find this an effective and low impact way of getting their regular exercise sessions in without causing further damage.

Medium and high resistance is more suited to those with higher fitness levels and works really well when it comes to building strength in your legs and lower body. If you’ve recently recovered from a knee injury consider using resistance to increase your strength and safeguard against any further damage.

To combine cardio and strength try some interval training and switch between low resistance sprints and medium-high resistance climbs.

Wondering about spin classes? Don’t fret. All good spin instructors will check for injuries before the class begins so let them know and they’ll be able to advise on how to best tackle the session.

Plus, the beauty of spin is that you can carry out the class at your own pace. Remember, you are in control and can adjust your pace according to your ability.

5. Step ups

For a low-impact cardio workout, turn to an aerobic step bench.

Step up onto the step with your right foot. Tap your left foot on the top of the step and then lower.

As you step up, your knee should be directly over your ankle to ensure you’re protecting your knees.

Repeat 10 times for a great calorie burn.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

orthopaedic doctors, new mexico

Healthy Aging: Preserving Your Bones and Joints

Whether you’re a young adult, baby boomer or senior, here’s what you can do now.

Article Featured on US News

PAUL SCHNEIDER, 90, OF Palm Harbor, Florida, starts his morning exercise with 100 situps. A couple golf matches a week, plus weight and aerobic workouts at his fitness club, also keep him flexible and strong.

Schneider stays slender and watches what he eats. He drinks water, not soda. He takes Tums for calcium, as well as fish oil and vitamin D supplements. He was never sedentary, either as a sales manager in the emerging computer industry or as a father of four. “I have fortunately – knock on wood – never broken a bone,” he says.

As aging conspires to chip away at your bone and joint health, experts explain what you can do to maintain these through every phase of life:

Start Early

Bone and joint health begin in childhood, says Dr. Sundeep Khosla, director of the Aging Bone, Muscle and Joint Program within the Mayo Clinic’s Kogod Center on Aging.

“Physical activity is important for loading the bones and helping them develop as strong as they can,” Khosla says. Parents can watch that kids don’t replace milk with sodas, thereby missing out on calcium. And it’s never too soon to discourage smoking, which can affect bone mass.

The adolescent growth spurt brings a marked rise in fractures, Khosla says. It’s believed when the skeleton is rapidly growing, an increased need for calcium may cause thinning, especially in delicate wrist bones. “So when these kids fall, they get wrist fractures,” he says.

If these fractures occur with mild injuries, like falling from a low height, that’s a sign kids have skeletal defects tied to low bone mass, Khosla says. “And that low bone mass tracks into young adulthood.”

Pillars of Bone Health

When it comes to healthy aging, Paul Schneider has an expert in his corner. His daughter, Dr. Diane Schneider,​ is a geriatrician, osteoporosis expert and author of “The Complete Book of Bone Health.”

Calcium, vitamin D, diet and exercise are the cornerstones of bone health, she says. Staying at a healthy weight is important: “You don’t want to be carrying around extra weight because that’s what’s going to start wearing out your hips and knees.”

What’s good for the bones isn’t necessarily good for the joints. “For your skeleton, you want weight-bearing exercises,” Schneider says. “But for your joints, weight-bearing exercises may also contribute to wearing them out.” She advises moderation and variety: If you’re a dedicated runner, for instance, work out with weights at the gym for a change.

Young Adult Challenges

“Your late 20s, early 30s is when you achieve what is called peak bone mass,” Schneider says. But college and career demands can disrupt health and exercise regimens, even for people who were active as teens.

Diet also changes for young adults, like drinking less milk. Schneider advises limiting caffeinated beverages – soda and coffee – particularly if your calcium intake is low. She recommends water instead. Alcohol consumption can affect bone health. “Moderate drinking, which would be one or two alcoholic beverages, is OK,” Schneider says. “More than that is too much.”

If you can’t cover the recommended calcium intake for your age group, Schneider says, either do a “menu makeover” to put calcium-rich food in your diet, or use a calcium supplement.

“Try to limit meals on the go,” she says. “They tend to be higher in sodium and carbohydrates and scant on vegetables.” And like alcohol, they can lead to putting on pounds.

Staying active isn’t always easy. “Try to schedule your exercise time and spend more time on your feet,” Schneider says. In the workplace, innovations like standing desks let employees sit less.

Maintain Bone Mass in Midlife

Middle age is a critical period for bone and joint health. After 50, calcium requirements for post-menopausal women rise from 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams,​ Schneider notes – but calorie requirements don’t. As metabolism slows, weight can creep up. “So women may need more time to maintain their fitness,” Schneider says.

Making time to exercise isn’t easy for the sandwich generation. Try working fitness into your day: strapping on a pedometer for 10,000 steps, parking farther from your building, taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Exercises to strengthen muscles also help protect the joints they support, Schneider says, which is important when arthritis shows up in middle age.

“With women, of course, the menopausal transition is when you really start accelerating bone loss because of the hormonal level fluctuations,” she says. Men also experience hormonal changes, with both testosterone and estrogen, but their bone loss is more gradual and less marked, Schneider says.

Avoiding osteoporosis  the silent condition that eats away at bones, leaving them thin, weak and vulnerable to breaks – is paramount. The National Osteoporosis Foundation offers guidelines for when people should undergo a bone-density test (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DEXA scan) based on their age, gender and risk factors – such as family history, smoking and certain medications.

Senior Strong

Faye Strum, 75, a retired teacher in La Jolla, California, hasn’t let osteoporosis disrupt her active life. About 18 years ago, she learned she had the condition after undergoing a bone scan during a routine checkup. Until then, Strum had no idea her bones were at risk. “I am of small stature,” she says. With the diagnosis, “I didn’t want to lose any height. And I’ve always been active, so I wanted to keep my muscles strong.”

Strum has taken bone-building medications and safeguards her bones while staying active. “I do more specialized exercise. I take in plenty of calcium. And I’m careful in how much I do in terms of lifting,” she says. “I don’t pick up little grandchildren and hold them up high.” She continues to walk and play tennis, and attends a healthy-bone class twice a week at a nearby sport-and-health center, where she works out with weights and bands and does balance exercise. And she attends a weekly gentle-yoga class.

Balance and core-strength exercise such as yoga and Tai Chi reduce your risk of falls and resulting fractures, Schneider says.

Improve Your ‘Health Span’

It’s never too late to optimize your bone health, Khosla says. “There are now drugs – and more drugs on the horizon – that can build your bone back up,” he says. “So you can at least partially reverse the bone loss.”

His group is working to better understand the underlying causes of bone aging and pinpoint people at higher risk of fractures. While DEXA is an “excellent” diagnostic tool, he says, upcoming imaging tools can provide detailed information on bone structure. And researchers are working on new tests to determine the quality of a patient’s bone.

“While extending lifespan is important, it doesn’t really help if that lifespan you extend is full of disability and pain,” Khosla says. In the aging-research community, the newer concept is extending “health span,” he says. “So you may not necessarily extend the actual life from 95 or 100 or whatever. But within that time frame, you’ll have more years of the better quality of life and healthier life.”


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

What is joint replacement surgery?

Original Article: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases


What is joint replacement surgery?

Joint replacement surgery removes damaged or diseased parts of a joint and replaces them with new, man-made parts.

Replacing a joint can reduce pain and help you move and feel better. Hips and knees are replaced most often. Other joints that can be replaced include the shoulders, fingers, ankles, and elbows.

Points To Remember About Joint Replacement Surgery

  • Joint replacement surgery removes damaged or diseased parts of a joint and replaces them with new, man-made parts.
  • The goals of joint replacement surgery are to relieve pain, help the joint work better, and improve walking and other movements.
  • Risks of problems after joint replacement surgery are much lower than they used to be.
  • An exercise program can reduce joint pain and stiffness.
  • Wearing away of the joint surface may become a problem after 15 to 20 years.

Why may joint replacement surgery be needed?

Joints may need to be replaced when they are damaged from:

  • Arthritis
  • Years of use
  • Disease

Your doctor will likely first suggest other treatments to reduce pain and help you move better, such as:

  • Walking aids, such as a cane or walker
  • An exercise program
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications

Sometimes the pain remains and makes daily activities hard to do. In this case, your doctor may order an x-ray to look at the joint. If the x-ray shows damage and your joint hurts, you may need a joint replacement.


What happens during joint replacement surgery?

During joint replacement your doctors will:

An illustration showing a hip prosthesis that is used in hip replacement surgery.
Hip Replacement Location
  • Give you medicine so you won’t feel pain. The medicine may block the pain only in one part of the body, or it may put your whole body to sleep.
  • Replace the damaged joint with a new man-made joint.
  • Move you to a recovery room until you are fully awake or the numbness goes away.


What can I expect after joint replacement surgery?

With knee or hip surgery, you will probably need to stay in the hospital for a few days. If you are elderly or have additional disabilities, you may then need to spend several weeks in an intermediate-care facility before going home. You and your team of doctors will determine how long you stay in the hospital.

After hip or knee replacement, you will often stand or begin walking the day of surgery. At first, you will walk with a walker or crutches. You may have some temporary pain in the new joint because your muscles are weak from not being used. Also, your body is healing. The pain can be helped with medicines and should end in a few weeks or months.

Physical therapy can begin the day after surgery to help strengthen the muscles around the new joint and help you regain motion in the joint. If you have your shoulder joint replaced, you can usually begin exercising the same day of your surgery! A physical therapist will help you with gentle, range-of-motion exercises. Before you leave the hospital, your therapist will show you how to use a pulley device to help bend and extend your arm.


What are the complications of joint replacement surgery?

Complications after joint replacement surgery are much lower than they used to be. When problems do occur, most are treatable. Problems could include:

  • Infection.
  • Blood clots.
  • Loosening of the joint.
  • Ball of the new joint comes out of its socket.
  • Wear on joint replacements.
  • Nerve and blood vessel injury.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

All you need to know about jaw popping

Original Article By Jayne Leonard

Jaw popping refers to a clicking sound from the jaw, which can be accompanied by sensations of pain.

Sometimes jaw popping can arise from overextending the jaw, such as by opening the mouth too wide when yawning or eating. At other times, it results from problems in the functioning of the temporomandibular joints or the joints that connect the jawbone to the sides of the skull.

Dysfunction of these joints is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD), although the condition may be incorrectly referred to as TMJ.

Fast facts on jaw popping:

  • Jaw popping without accompanying pain is not typically a cause for concern.
  • If certain health conditions underlie the popping, medical intervention may be needed.
  • The cause of jaw popping is not completely understood.
  • Jaw popping can often be treated at home, especially if there is no pain or other symptoms.

Symptoms

A clicking of popping sound in the jaw may be a sign of temporomandibular disorder.

Jaw popping may be the only symptom experienced. However, TMD can often cause other symptoms as well, including:

  • pain and discomfort
  • tenderness in the face or jaw
  • difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • jaws that “lock” in an open or closed position
  • difficulty eating
  • facial swelling
  • toothache
  • headache
  • neck ache
  • earache

 

Causes

TMD is thought to arise from issues with the jaw muscles or the temporomandibular joints (TMJs).

According to the National Institute of Craniofacial Research, TMD affects over 10 million people, with women having it more often than men.

However, anyone of any age or gender can experience jaw popping, which may be linked to behaviors such as:

  • grinding the teeth
  • chewing gum regularly or excessively
  • nail-biting
  • clenching the jaw
  • biting the inside of the cheek or lip

Also, several medical conditions can lead to jaw popping, including:

Arthritis

Arthritis is a disease of the joints. Two of the most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, both of which can result in cartilage damage in the TMJ.

Destruction of the TMJ cartilage tissue can make jaw movements difficult and can cause a popping sound and clicking sensation in the joint.

Other symptoms of arthritis include:

  • joint pain
  • stiffness
  • inflammation or swelling
  • a reduced range of motion

Also, people with rheumatoid arthritis may experience fatigue and appetite loss.

Injury to the jaw

girl about to eat strip of chewing gum

Nail-biting, teeth grinding, and frequent chewing of gum may be associated with jaw popping.

A broken or dislocated jaw, which happens when the joint of the jaw becomes unhinged, can cause jaw popping.

Common causes of injury to the jaw include:

  • road traffic collisions
  • sporting injuries
  • trips and falls
  • physical assaults

It is important to seek medical treatment for a jaw injury, particularly if accompanied by:

  • bleeding
  • bruising
  • swelling

Myofascial pain syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder that causes pain in certain trigger points of some muscles. It occurs after a muscle is contracted repetitively over time. Therefore, it may affect those that have jobs or engage in sporting activities that require repetitive movement.

Myofascial pain syndrome in the jaw can lead to jaw popping.

Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome include:

  • muscular pain
  • persistent or progressive pain
  • tender points in muscle
  • sleep difficulties
  • changes in mood

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder characterized by shallow breathing or one or more pauses in breathing, during sleep.

There are two forms of sleep apnea called obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Both can cause jaw popping.

Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • daytime sleepiness
  • headaches
  • mood disorders

People with obstructive sleep apnea may also snore in their sleep.

As sleep apnea can increase the risk of several serious conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and obesity, people with sleep problems should seek immediate medical treatment.

Malocclusion of the teeth

Also known as an overbite or underbite, malocclusion of the teeth causes misalignment of the jaw and the mouth. This can lead to jaw popping or clicking.

Malocclusion of the teeth will usually require professional orthodontic treatment.

Infection

In some cases, jaw popping is caused by an infection of the glands of the mouth.

Other signs and symptoms of oral infections include:

  • dry mouth
  • a bad taste in the mouth
  • facial pain
  • inflammation

Antibiotics or other treatments may be necessary to treat oral infections.

Treatmeat

A nightguard may be prescribed to help prevent tooth grinding while sleeping.

Depending on the cause of the jaw popping or the presence of other medical conditions, professional interventions may be necessary for some cases.

Treatment options include:

  • Medication: High doses of NSAIDs, muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety drugs, or antidepressants may be prescribed by a doctor or dentist to manage TMD.
  • Mouthpieces: A splint or nightguard may be used to prevent or manage clenching or grinding of the teeth. These devices can also treat malocclusion of the teeth.
  • Dental work: Overbites, underbites, and other dental issues may be addressed through dental work to reduce jaw popping.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): Using electrical currents, TENS relaxes the muscles of the jaw and face to relieve pain.
  • Pain-relieving injections: For people with myofascial pain syndrome, injections into trigger points may provide relief from jaw pain.
  • Ultrasound: Applying heat to the joint may improve jaw mobility and stop the pain.
  • Laser therapy or radio wave therapy: These treatments stimulate movement and ease pain in the jaw, mouth, and neck.
  • Surgery: This is usually the last resort for people with jaw popping. The type of surgery required will depend on the underlying issue.

For anyone considering surgery for jaw popping symptoms, they should get a second or third opinion before going through with this treatment.

Outlook

Usually, jaw popping is a temporary condition that clears up with at-home treatments and lifestyle changes.

However, people who experience jaw popping that persists, worsens, recurs, or is accompanied by pain or other symptoms, should consult their doctor. It is important to address the underlying cause of jaw popping to prevent other complications from arising.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.